Amritsar attack: Did ISI try to drive a wedge between Nirankari and mainstream Sikhs
Amritsar, Nov 19: There has been a sustained effort to create communal tensions in Punjab in a bid to revive militancy. The attack on Sunday could have been one such attempt in that direction, Intelligence Bureau officials feel.
The attack on the Nirankari Mission is being seen as a strategy to create tension between the members of the sect and the Sikhs. This is one of the primary angles that is being probed, officials say.
Officials suspect that the ISI and its men could have targeted the religious congregation on Sunday, with an intention of causing communal tension. The ISI had in recent times also staged the killing of Hindu leaders in Punjab to create communal tensions and divide the society. The NIA is currently probing that case.
Officials explain that the ISI may have attempted to take advantage of the fact that the mainstream Sikhs always looked at the Nirankari Mission as a heretic cult.
The Nirankaris are the followers of Baba Buta Singh, who founded the Sant Nirankari mission, which is an independent spiritual mission in 1929. The Nirankari Mission is looked upon by many mainstream Sikhs as a heretic cult and is not affiliated with any religion. It is aimed at uniting the people with God.
The mission has its headquarters in Delhi and also has centres in countries like Canada, Germany and Australia. It may be recalled that in 1980, the then chief of the sect, Gurbachan Singh was assassinated by a Sikh extremist at the Foundation's headquarters in Delhi. He was succeeded by his son, Hardev Singh. He died last year in a car crash in Toronoto.
Following his death, Singh's wife Savinder Kaur became the head and also the first woman to head the Nirankari Mission. The mission has been involved in a series of violent clashes with the radical Sikhs. The Akal Takht had released a decree directing the Khalsa Panth to cut off all worldly relations with those Sikhs who were part of the Nirankari organisation.